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In Argentina, the family man Julio Madariaga is the patriarch of his family and considers his farm the paradise on Earth. One of his daughters, Luisa Desnoyers, has married the Frenchman immigrant Marcelo Desnoyers and they have one son, the playboy Julio, and one daughter, the gorgeous student of Sorbonne Chi Chi. His other daughter, Elena von Hartrott, has married the German Karl von Hartrott, and they have three sons: Heinrich, Gustav and Franz. In 1938, Heinrich returns from Germany for a family reunion and when he tells that he has joined the SS, the displeased Julio Madariaga has a heart attack and dies. When France is occupied by the Germans, the family reunites in Paris and Franz is the Nazi administrator in France. The alienated Julio has a studio where he paints, and has a love affair with Marguerite Laurier, the wife of the owner of a newspaper Etienne Laurier that is fighting in Belgium. Meanwhile Chi Chi joins the French resistance and is arrested. Julio uses the ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This film has many fine qualities, some oddball aspects, and some things of interest because of how they relate to other work by the creative artists. For example, Minnelli returns to Paris location shooting as he did in 'American in Paris' and 'Gigi', but this time to re-create wartime Paris and what it was like to be part of the Resistance, as well as what life was like among the privileged Parisian collaborators who lived the good life under Nazi rule. In spite of MGM glamour and production values that must have cost a fortune, Minnelli and his screenwriters often succeed in portraying the anguish of that time, the moral crisis of privileged neutrals, and the courage of those who resisted. Credit must go to a splendid cast of Hollywood veterans and some talented newcomers. Paul Henreid shows up playing, what else?, a resistance hero. Ingrid Thulin's Swedish accent must have been too much for MGM's money men - they had her dialogue dubbed by Angela Lansbury, and pretty effectively too. One of the greatest pleasures of the film is Andre Previn's score. If you like your movie music big, complex, intrusive, and romantic, you'll agree that this score is one of the great overlooked gems of Hollywood soundtracks.
What's bad about the movie? Glenn Ford for starters, not too believable as an Argentinian playboy. But that may just be a matter of taste.
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